How to Hook Up a Home Theater System

by Nichole Liandi

Home theater systems are the perfect complement to a big screen TV. They provide the audio "punch" that adds life to whatever you're watching, but particularly to movies with multi-channel sound tracks. Many home theater systems are all-in-one systems that include speakers, subwoofers and DVD players combined with audio amplifiers. These are convenient for many people, and hooking one up doesn't have to be an all-day affair if you know what you're doing.

Unpack your home theater system and lay out the different elements. Find the manual and read the section on setup--this simple step is too often ignored, but a little reading ahead of time can solve a lot of problems later.

Examine your TV for the type of video connections it has. The best video connection to use is HDMI, an all-digital connection that carries sound and picture. If your TV and home theater system (HTS) both have this, connect them with an HDMI cable. Note that your home theater system may not come with this type of cable, in which case you'll need to buy it. If HDMI is not possible, connect the video output of your HTS to the TV with a component video cable (3 RCA style connectors), an S-Video cable or a single composite video cable.

Make an audio connection from your TV to the HTS. This allows TV program sound to go through your home theater system's audio amplifiers. Use a pair of RCA cables and connect from a TV output to an audio input on the HTS. Consult the manual to locate the input, if necessary.

Connect the speaker wires of your HTS form the amplifier to the speakers. In some cases the wires of your HTS will be color coded for easy hookup. If not, run one set of wires at a time. Locate the position for your speakers ahead of time to avoid difficulties in running the wires. Most HTS units will also include a subwoofer. Connect it the the HTS as well and locate it in good location. Corners often work well for subwoofers.

Test your system before putting all the equipment where you want it. This will avoid having to pull units out of cabinets or shelves unnecessarily. Put in a favorite movie and test the sound to make sure all the speakers are working. Some systems will even come with a test disc, or can play test tones to help you double check your work.

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.